Last week, Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale angled to become the most politically relevant show on television; now, with this Monday's release of the House Of Cards Season 5 trailer, it's clear that Netflix is gunning to give Hulu a run for its money in the "politically relevant" competition when it premieres on May 30.
The new season of House Of Cards will be a first in a couple of ways. First of all, this is the first year of the series without creator Beau Willimon at the helm. Willimon was nominated for an Oscar for writing the 2011 political drama The Ides Of March alongside George Clooney; he's now returning to feature films to write the biopic Mary Queen Of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I. And new House of Cards showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese seem to be compensating for Willimon's absence by making the series more topical than ever.
And that brings us to Season 5's second "first;" it's the first year of the show to premiere after the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States… and it's clear that the writers are definitely using the opportunity to compare the unscrupulous Frank Underwood with our real-life Commander In Chief, and drawing parallels between the machinations of their fictional Washington, D.C. and the goings-on in our nation's capitol ever since Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Here are 11 ways House Of Cards now feels way too real in 2017.
1. Never Underwood
The "Never Underwood" posters in this anti-Frank protest outside the White House bear more than a passing resemblance to the "Never My President" slogan that's become popular among Democrats since Trump's election.
2. Mr. Know-It-All
"The American people don't know what's best for them," Frank says in the trailer's opening line. And while it comes off condescending (especially when he claims that "I know exactly what they need"), he's not entirely wrong when plenty of Americans have a habit of voting against their own interests.
3. Political Circus
This shot of Congress — with members shouting over each other, waving papers in the air, and banging gavels — pretty much sums up the American people's opinion of the legislative branch, which started the year with an embarrassing 19 percent approval rating.
4. 12 Angry (White) Men
It's not immediately clear what's being discussed here; but this shot feels relevant for a number of reasons. Firstly, North Carolina has become a fascinating case study for the Republicans' plans for our nation. And secondly, notice that this room seems to contain at least nine white men… with no women or people of color in sight.
5. Hail Hydra
In a show suffused with critical details, the placement of that image of a man fighting a many-headed hydra can't be a coincidence. Not only does it bring to mind Hydra, the evil Nazi organization from Marvel comics, it also symbolizes a potential Underwood presidency: impeach one Underwood, and another would take his place. Would that really be any better?
6. Off The Map
Just looking at this electoral college map is giving me such vivid flashbacks to Election Night that my palms are getting sweaty. And of course it would all come down to Ohio and Pennsylvania — both swing states that went to Trump in the 2016 election.
7. Collateral Damage
In this shot, Tom Hammerschmidt is clearly continuing his mission to take down Frank by looking at pictures of a dead body in a morgue. Donald Trump may not be a literal murderer like Frank Underwood, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been (or won't be) collateral damage from his presidency; the Washington Post estimates that 43,000 people will die each year if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
8. Make It A Double
All this political relevancy could drive a person to drink. Pour one out for me too, Doug.
9. Lucky Us
"Lucky for them," Frank intones in the trailer, referring to the American people he has been condescending to in voiceover, "they have me." If Trump and Underwood have only one thing in common, it would probably be the size of their respective egos.
10. An Affair To Remember
OK, so this doesn't have so much real-life relevance. But I couldn't resist including this shot of POTUS engaging in a same-sex tryst; I can't imagine what Trump would say about his Netflix doppelgänger engaging in such an activity. (Also, RIP Agent Meechum. You're still missed.)
11. "One Nation… Underwood."
The most chilling part of the trailer comes at the end. "Underwood 2016," Frank says. "2020," he continues. "2024, 2028, 2032, 2036…" Even giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he means that Claire will succeed him as President, the math doesn't add up; that's still three terms too many. Does Frank intend to rewrite the Constitution to do away with term limits? He may not be the only president considering making changes to our nation's founding document, either…
Let House Of Cards fill you with existential dread when Season 5 premieres on May 30.